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Bonhams unveils key Banksy works at first-ever Urban Art Auction in Los Angeles
Banksy, Paparazzi Rat. Estimate: US$100,000-150,000. Photo: Bonhams.
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Bonhams is set to take L.A. by storm with an outstanding selection of street art at the inaugural US Urban Art sale on 29th October. Highlights of the sale include key works by the celebrated British street artist Banksy, Shepard Fairey, KAWS and the “Godfather” of East Los Angeles "cholo" style graffiti, Chaz Bojórquez.

The LA Urban Art sale is the first auction of its type to be held in the US and will bring together powerful works by the world’s most pioneering graffiti artists. Banksy highlights, recently unveiled in London include ‘Gangsta Rat’, estimated at US$100,000-150,000 and ‘Paparazzi Rat’, estimated at US$100,000-150,000. Both are works on canvas and include Banksy’s signature rats, which appear in so many of his works. In 2005 the artist commented:

“They exist without permission. They are hated, hunted and persecuted. They live in quiet desperation amongst the filth. And yet they are capable of bringing entire civilisations to their knees. If you are dirty, insignificant and unloved then rats are the ultimate role model.”

Other Banksy highlights in the sale include ‘Winnie the Pooh’, showing the well-loved bear with his foot caught in a bear-trap and an upturned money-pot (estimated at $50,000 – 80,000), ‘Heavy Weaponry’ estimated at $35,000 – 45,000 and ‘Lenin on Rollerblades’ estimated at $30,000 – 50,000. Thirteen of his popular prints will also be offered for sale.

In addition to Banksy’s images, the sale includes pivotal works from important street artists who have come to define the genre. Key works include pieces by Chaz Bojórquez, Shepard Fairey, KAWS, Saber, D* Face, Mr Brainwash and Blek Le Rat.

An extraordinary canvas by Los Angeles artist Chaz Bojórquez, known as the Godfather of ‘cholo’ graffiti art ‘Señor Suerte 1979’ is estimated at US$40,000-60,000. The roots of his art are as fascinating as they are diverse; alongside the influence of Mexican-American street art, Bojórquez's study of Chinese calligraphy has had a long-lasting effect on both his artistic and spiritual outlook. This piece, featuring a sinister skull and nicknamed ‘Señor Suerte’ (Mr Luck) has become his trademark image, featuring in both his street art and his gallery pieces since the 1960s. Chaz Bojórquez’ works exemplify the style of graffiti born of the subculture developed among Mexican-American youths in Los Angeles in the 1960s. As the artist himself commented “Cholo culture is Mexican-American culture, and our style carries our culture.”

Gareth Williams, Head of Urban Art said, “Urban Art continues to be one of the most rapidly developing sectors of the art market and it is truly exciting to be bringing such important works to auction in Los Angeles. The city is fast becoming a hub for Urban Art, following Banksy’s groundbreaking ‘Barely Legal’ show in 2006, The Museum of Contemporary Art’s exhibition ‘Art in the Streets’, held last year, and the numerous sell-out gallery shows. This auction provides a rare opportunity for members of the public to be able to see such a diverse collection of works and we are expecting significant interest from across the globe.”





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